Breaking Down Men’s Fitness: “25 Ways to Get Stronger Now”
If you are an athlete, bodybuilder, or just care about your personal well-being then you’re probably also looking for ways to increase your strength. If you are trying to accomplish this goal supplement or steroid free, it can be very challenging.
Men’s Fitness strength and training writers Sean Hyson, C. S. C. S., and Joe Stankowski, C. P. T., put together an article titled, “25 Ways to Get Stronger Now.”
This article highlights tips and tricks on how to get stronger in the weight room. Some of the advice given is very helpful and has worked for me personally. Other techniques are new to me and I found them interesting.
Increase Your Beast
Work up. Instead of using the pyramid you should work up to your heaviest weight. This was something I used to reach my max on the bench press at (315 x 2). Below is an example of the style of workout I used.
1st set – 12 Reps 200
2nd set – 8 Reps 235
3rd set – 6 Reps 260
4th set – 4 Reps 285
5th set – 2 Reps 300
6th set – Max (optional – mine was 315)
Rest 3 – 5 minutes. This is something that is really important. For your muscles to reach maximum potential, they need time to relax and regenerate—especially when attempting a personal best.
Box jumps. They recommend doing three sets of three reps with a 60 second rest between each set. During my senior year of high school, my tennis coach had us do box jumps to warm up our legs prior to intense leg weight training.
Stronger partner. Find someone who is stronger than you, especially in the areas you are looking to improve strength. I spent the summer going into my freshmen year working out with the juniors and seniors, which helped me increase my body’s strength in several areas.
Mind Over Matter
The article recommends visualizing yourself doing every rep prior to beginning a tough set. Along with visualization, they also suggest focusing on your breathing. I can’t say I have ever tried these approaches before, but if you can do it in your mind then half the battle is over.
One of the tricks they give us is to load the bar with smaller weights so your brain won’t register it as being heavy. I’m not buying this one, heavy is heavy whether I put 10 – 10lbs weights or 2 – 50lbs weights on the curling bar.
They suggest losing your shoes or wearing Converse Chuck Taylor’s. Apparently it increases the amount of muscle your body can activate and also allows the weight to travel a shorter distance during exercises like the dead lift. The only person I know who ever went barefoot in the gym almost lost a toe.
Every Little Bit Helps
If you squeeze your butt cheeks on each rep, it can increase stability through any exercise. The article states that by doing this during exercises you will be pulling new records “out of your ass.” I do push my pelvic area up when struggling to get the bar up on the bench, incline or decline press.
I think everyone has heard about taking a cold shower to calm the body when you are sexually stimulated. For weightlifters, holding an ice pack for one to two minutes will have the same effect by calming your nervous system and awakening your senses.
The article offered another great squeezing trick, but for this one you use your hands. If you squeeze the bar hard for three to five seconds and then relax for an equal amount of time before you begin a lift, the tightness you feel will help propel you through your set.
All of these tips and tricks provided by MensFitness.com will help you get stronger now. The most important thing to remember is without drive, heart and dedication, becoming stronger is impossible.